NEW YORK — Left-hander Brian Flynn had been so effective over the last seven weeks that perhaps his name should have surfaced as a possible trade chip.
Flynn went into the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader at Yankee Stadium sporting a 1.74 ERA since June 8. But his run of success came to an end. After throwing two scoreless innings of relief, he gave up two runs in the eighth, wiping out a one-run Royals lead, and the Yankees held on for a 5-4 victory.
The Royals won the first game, 10-5.
Flynn gave up a home run to Greg Bird leading off the eighth on a 1-0 two-seamer. He then surrendered a double to Neil Walker before right-hander Glenn Sparkman entered. Sparkman gave up a bunt single, a walk and a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
“Two pitches up,” manager Ned Yost said of Flynn. “He did a good job getting us through two innings. Those two guys were actually his best matchups. But just left a couple of pitches up.”
Flynn said the two-seamer to Bird was down and in and not that bad of a pitch.
“Kind of in the left-handers’ hot zone,” Flynn said. “They like to drop the barrel on it. … Extremely frustrating, because the team scratched a run to give us the lead. [Bird] has some pop, but you like that matchup there.”
Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer made his third career start and pitched better than his line — five innings, five hits, three earned runs, two walks, two strikeouts — would indicate.
Fillmyer gave up two soft runs in the first. Brett Gardner reached on a swinging bunt and Giancarlo Stanton singled. Both runners advanced on a flyout, and Gardner then scored on another infield hit, by Miguel Andujar. A sacrifice fly by Walker made it 2-0. Fillmyer used 28 pitches to get out of the first.
But Fillmyer, leaning heavily on his changeup while unable to command his slider, worked through the next four innings relatively unscathed. He did surrender a home run to Shane Robinson in the fourth on a 3-1 four-seamer, but that was it.
“He grinded,” Yost said. “Going into the fourth inning, he had thrown more balls than strikes. But he found a way to get through it and keep us in the game. That’s a tremendous job for a young pitcher to come into Yankee Stadium and grind through it.”
Fillmyer wasn’t happy with his overall lack of command.
“I just wasn’t in the zone as much as I wanted to, especially early in the game,” Fillmyer said.
Designated hitter Salvador Perez continued his hot streak, blasting a solo home run in the third inning, his 17th. He has six home runs in his last 14 games.